Planning a Trip from Toronto to Niagara Falls

  • 01 of 04

    Getting to Niagara Falls from Toronto

    Niagara Falls
    ••• LeonU / Getty Images

    Getting to Niagara Falls from Toronto can be done in a number of ways.

    By Car

    Niagara Falls is between an hour and a half and a two hour drive from downtown Toronto.

    The QEW is a major six/eight-lane highway that connects Niagara Falls and Toronto. It provides the most direct route between the two cities, but is by no means scenic. If you would like a more scenic route, hop off the highway around St. Catherines and take Hwy 81 through wine country. Beautiful, rolling countryside with a wine route clearly marked. In addition, at Burlington, follow Lakeshore Road, which runs along the Lake Ontario shore and gawk at all the mansions. 

    From Toronto, you'll follow signs first for the Gardiner Expressway West, which becomes the QEW (Queen Elizabeth Way) West. From Toronto Pearson Airport, take the 427 South to QEW West.

    In Burlington - about half way through your drive - veer left to follow signs for QEW Niagara.

    Finally, about a half hour past Burlington, take the 420 exit on the left.

    Public...MORE Transit

    Go Transit operates a year-round combination train/bus route between Toronto and Niagara Falls. Passengers must transfer to a bus in Burlington to continue onto Niagara Falls.

    From May to the end of September weekend train service between Toronto and Niagara Falls is available with special cars outfitted to accommodate bicycles.

    VIA Rail offers direct, daily service between Niagara Falls and Toronto.

    Note that the bus station and the train station are in old Niagara Falls, about a 5-min drive from the Falls themselves.

    Shuttle/Bus

    Numerous shuttles take passengers from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Niagara Falls. Note though that flying into Buffalo is another option for visiting Niagara Falls, where a shuttle ride will be less than half the time and cost.

    Niagara Airbus offers pick ups from the airport or downtown hotels.

    Megabus is probably the cheapest way to get to Niagara Falls from Toronto - other than riding your bike.

    Guided Tours of Niagara Falls

    Another way to get to Niagara Falls from Toronto is to book a guided tour through your hotel or find a private tour operator that offers the kind of tour you want....read more.

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  • 02 of 04

    Guided Tours of Niagara Falls

    Horseshoe falls
    ••• Niagara Falls, Ontario, in Canada, is home to the Horseshoe Falls, the most powerful waterfall in North America and possibly the best-known in the world - truly a sight to behold. Pexels / Pixabay

    A guided tour of Niagara Falls may be a great way to see the top attractions in the area and have experts take care of transportation, tickets, etc. Consider what you want to get from your tour to Niagara Falls before booking. Some questions to ask yourself are: Do you want lots of free time? Do you want to ride the Hornblower Boat Tour (formerly Maid of the Mist)? Do you want to visit a winery? Do you want to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake? Do you want a meal included? Do you want to see the Falls lit up in evening?

    If you are staying at a Toronto hotel, the concierge will be able to arrange a tour for you. Here is a sampling of Niagara Falls tours originating in Toronto. Take the time to look at the Reviews, which are helpful in choosing your tour:

    • Niagara Falls Day Trip from Toronto includes hotel pick up and drop off, transportation in air-conditioned coach, lunch, Maid of the Mist weather permitting or alternate, drive through Niagara on the Lake and stop at a winery.
      Book a Niagara Falls...MORE Day Trip with Viator.

       

    • Niagara Falls Freedom Day Trip includes hotel pick up and drop off, transportation in air-conditioned coach, Maid of the Mist ride, weather permitting or alternate.
      Book a Niagara Falls Freedom Day Trip with Viator.

       

    • Niagara Falls Evening Lights Day Trip from Toronto includes hotel pick up and drop off, transportation in air-conditioned coach, Hornblower cruise, weather permitting or alternate, buffet dinner, winery stop, time permitting.
      Book a Niagara Falls Evening Lights Day Trip with Viator.
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  • 03 of 04

    Places to Stop between Toronto and Niagara Falls

    Niagara wine
    ••• Niagara Wine Region. huney / Pixabay

    It takes about an hour and a half or two hours to drive between Toronto and Niagara Falls, the most direct route being alongside Lake Ontario on the Queen Elizabeth Highway (QEW). If you have the time, a number of places along the way are worth a visit.

    Burlington is less than an hour from Toronto along the QEW. If you want to get off the pavement and enjoy some green space, stop at the Royal Botanical Gardens, a designated national historical site that includes 400 acres of display gardens, exhibits, cafe and shop. It's minutes off the highway.

    Hamilton is midway between Toronto and Niagara Falls. Part steel town, part university town, Hamilton has several interesting attractions. If nothing else, take in the view of the waterside steel factories pumping out pollution - a strange tourist attraction, but one that fascinates everyone I've taken to see it. Other Hamilton highlights include:

    Once past Hamilton, if you would like to take a more scenic route to Niagara Falls, get off the QEW either at Fifty Rd. or Casablanca Blvd. and take Hwy 81 through the towns of Grimsby, Beamsville, Vineland - all part of the Niagara Wine Region. Stop in the town of Jordan to visit Cave Springs, one of the most popular wineries.

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  • 04 of 04

    Toronto and Niagara Falls: Two Great Canadian Cities Side by Side

    Toronto and Niagara Falls are two of Canada's most popular destinations and conveniently located close by in southern Ontario, just across the U.S. border from Buffalo. 

    Visitors can easily get an appreciation for both cities and the surrounding region by following this three-day itinerary